Brushing & Flossing Instructions
Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with extra-soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.
Wipe infant’s gums gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, grain- of-rice sized dab of toothpaste. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush where they miss, as most kids need help with brushing until about age eight. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, circular motion to remove plaque. When children are older, they can switch to this method.
Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle towards teeth and gums. Move brush in a circular motion with short strokes, about a half tooth wide.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
- Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
- Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
- Floss between teeth daily.
When To Begin Brushing
Once your child’s teeth begin erupting, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use just a grain-of-rice sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride until your child is able to spit it out, then use a pea-sized amount.
For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:
- Let your child brush your teeth at the same time, but don’t let them put their brush in your mouth, which can spread decay causing bacteria.
- Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with his favorite characters and giving him a choice of which one he wants to use each time (this will give him some feeling of control over the situation).
- Let your child brush his own teeth first (you will likely have to “help out”).
- Read your child some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time.
To help your child understand the importance of brushing, it can be sometimes fun and helpful to let them eat or drink something that will “stain” their teeth temporarily and then brush them clean.
It can also be a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine”. And stick to the same routine each day. Most children need help with brushing until they are at least eight years old.